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China selects 15 most influential overseas experts
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China on Saturday revealed the 15 most influential foreigners for their contributions to the country's development over the past three decades.

The list includes specialists in public health, science, construction, management, education, media and farming, according International Talent Monthly, a periodical owned by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.

Those mentioned include Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei, who designed the Fragrant Hill Hotel on the outskirts of Beijing and the Bank of China building in Hong Kong in the 1980s. In 2004, he designed the Chinese embassy in Washington D.C.

Chinese-American Nobel physics laureates Yang Chen-ning and Lee Tsung-dao are on the list as is Ian Fok Chun-wan from Hong Kong, a management and training professional.

Also named were Hain Verbruggen, Netherlands, chairman of the International Olympic Committee Coordination Commission for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games; Robert A. Mundell, Canada, Nobel Prize Winner who served as a key advisor to the Bank of China; Henk Bekedam, Netherlands, a former World Health Organization's chief representative in China; Werner Gerich, Germany, the first foreigner to head a Chinese venture since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949; John L. Thornton, American, former President and Co-COO of Goldman Sachs who is now a professor and the director of Global Leadership at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Others include German Susan Sabriya Tenberken, a training professional for the blind, Japanese statesman Morihiko Hiramatsu, Japanese agriculturists Toyama Seiei and Hara Shoich, Israeli doctor Moris Topaz, and New Zealander Edwin Charles Maher, an anchor with China Central Television's English Channel (CCTV-9).

"It's a partnership between China and the rest of the world," said Maher, who was the first Western news anchor on China's state broadcast. "Inviting foreigners who are experts in their own field is a vital part in the development of China. People in all fields are helping China continue to develop."

The list of 15 was announced in Shenzhen at the opening of an international talent forum -- the 2008 Conference on International Exchange of Professionals in Shenzhen.

International Talent Monthly invited a panel of 38 judges to narrow the list down to 15 from 29 candidates.

Most of the finalists were also winners of the Friendship Award, the top honor awarded by the Chinese government to foreign experts who make outstanding contributions to China's economic construction and social development, and the China International Science and Technology Cooperation Award.

"What mostly attracts talents is the experiences and opportunities in China," said Federick C. Dubee, senior adviser with the Executive office of the UN Secretary-General, who was at the ceremony.

(Xinhua News Agency November 30, 2008)

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